Lewis Hamilton has insisted that he does not need to change his approach to racing, despite his second world championship campaign coming down to the wire over the final three races of 2008.
As was the case in his rookie season, the Briton holds the upper hand heading into Sunday's Japanese Grand Prix, but Hamilton - and the entire McLaren team - is well aware of the pitfalls that could lie ahead, having thrown away a golden chance to make history in 2007, when they allowed Kimi Raikkonen to snatch the crown by a single point, having been 17 behind with two rounds to go.
While McLaren boss Ron Dennis openly admits that the team is focused more on the championship than race wins at this stage of the season, and will instruct Hamilton to drive tactically if necessary - as it did in Singapore - the former GP2 champion admits that he will not be altering his own mindset lest he lose focus.
"I just try to take every race as it comes and I am definitely, compared to last year, looking at the championship and what I need to do to win it," Hamilton admitted, "It is obviously within my grasp but we, as a team, have to put a really strong effort in to continue with the momentum we have. For me, I am approaching every race exactly as I have throughout the season. I don't think I need to change anything, just keep the car on the road and try and bring it home and score some good points."
Having seen his advantage over main rival Felipe Massa ebb and flow in recent weeks as Ferrari - and the FIA - ensured that the battle would remain close into the final stages, Hamilton admitted that he was delighted to take the upper hand in qualifying at Fuji.
"Going into qualifying, we had already decided what our strategy would be and we believed it would be competitive and put us in a good position for the race," he revealed, "But, as you know in qualifying, it is down to you not making mistakes and putting the sectors together and really pulling out the lap. It can be very tough but, again, we had very good pace here. We have been able to outpace the Ferraris, which is great for us, and I think [it was] a really strong showing from me and from Heikki [Kovalainen]. Hopefully, tomorrow, we can push forward with the strategy we have and really challenge for the front."
Hamilton's mood of optimism was heightened when he realised that Massa would not be lining up alongside him, as he has for much of the season. The Brazilian admitted to making mistakes in the final phase of Saturday's crucial timed session, which allowed both Kovalainen and the potent Fernando Alonso to push him back to fifth spot.
"To be honest, I was just happy to see Heikki pull up alongside," Hamilton confessed, "I think it's great for the team and that's all I was really thinking of. At the end of my lap, I was hoping that Heikki was either beside me or at least behind me, so we could both score as many points for the team.
"I wouldn't say it was a perfect qualifying session, [but] I think it was a step forward from my previous session in Singapore. I think Q1 went really well, Q2 also, but I didn't seem to be as quick as Felipe there. But, going into Q3, the first lap wasn't great, but I managed to pull it together on the last lap - although I did lose a bit of time in one corner.